State Statements Following the Supreme Court's Decision to Stay the Clean Power Plan

February 10, 2016

Following the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan, many states say they will continue to move forward.  The case is expected to be heard on its merits later this year.


Joint Statement By N.Y. Attorney General, States, Cities And Counties in Response to Temporary Stay of Clean Power Plan

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, on behalf of the states of New York, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, the cities of New York, Boulder, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Miami and Broward County, Florida, issued the following statement in response to the decision by the United States Supreme Court to temporarily stay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan:

“We are confident that once the courts have fully reviewed the merits of the Clean Power Plan, it will be upheld as lawful under the Clean Air Act.  Our coalition of states and local governments will continue to vigorously defend the Clean Power Plan —which is critical to ensuring that necessary progress is made in confronting climate change.”



Gov. Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order blocking enforcement of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan:

"As the world gets hotter and closer to irreversible climate change, these justices appear tone-deaf as they fiddle with procedural niceties. This arbitrary roadblock does incalculable damage and undermines America's climate leadership. But make no mistake, this won't stop California from continuing to do its part under the Clean Power Plan."

Last November, Governor Brown joined a broad coalition of states and municipalities across the country to defend the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan. He later blasted West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for "crass obstructionism" following their attempt to undermine the plan. The Governor also sent a letter to the Republican presidential candidates asking for their plans to deal with climate change and followed with a separate letter to Dr. Ben Carson in response to his comments questioning the science of climate change.


Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board

"The Supreme Court's narrowly procedural ruling may create some temporary confusion, but we are confident that the Clean Power Plan will prevail.  California will not slow down our drive for clean air, renewable energy, and the good jobs that come from investing in green technologies."


Attorney General Kamala Harris

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the following statement in support of President Barack Obama’s America’s Clean Power Plan which will limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel-fired power plants.

“Power plants emit pollutants that contribute to climate change and, left unchecked, those pollutants harm our natural resources and pose a grave threat to public health,” said Attorney General Harris. “California is leading the world in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and pioneering clean and renewable energy.  The President’s clean power plan, combined with California’s green innovation, create a path for the nation to protect our environment for current and future generations.”

Attorney General Harris has fought to protect AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which has served as a global model for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014 and 2015, Attorney General Harris and a coalition of states intervened in cases filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the EPA’s authority to propose rules limiting emissions of greenhouse gases from existing power plants.



Gov. John Hickenlooper

DENVER — Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 — Gov. John Hickenlooper released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to issue a stay while legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan proceed:

“While we're still reviewing the implications of the Supreme Court's decision, we remain committed to having the cleanest air in the nation. We'll continue to build upon the great strides we've made as a state — with the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act and our Renewable Energy Standard — to protect our public health and environment.”


Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment

Colorado to keep working while courts consider Clean Power Plan.

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, a rule designed to reduce nationwide emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants by about one-third. The stay is a temporary measure while the federal courts review the merits of the rule.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been working since last summer to develop a plan to achieve the Clean Power Plan’s carbon reduction targets for Colorado. The department will continue to coordinate with stakeholders to develop this state plan during the litigation. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments courts on the rule in June.

It is prudent for Colorado to move forward during the litigation to ensure that the state is not left at a disadvantage if the courts uphold all or part of the Clean Power Plan. Because the Supreme Court did not say whether the stay would change the rule’s compliance deadlines, Colorado could lose valuable time if it delays its work on the state plan and the rule is ultimately upheld.

Colorado’s utilities, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders have provided valuable input on the development of the state plan. The department will evaluate the decision and coordinate with stakeholders to assess how the stay might impact the timing and substance of the state plan.

Climate change remains a critical environmental and public health and welfare issue. Colorado has and will continue to develop cost-effective strategies to diversify our energy mix, strengthen our economy and lower our greenhouse gas emissions. Through the Colorado Climate Plan, state agencies will also develop and implement innovative strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change.



Gov. Dannel Malloy

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Clean Power Plan:

"I believe in science - the data is real. Global warming is happening. Urgent action is needed on a national and an international basis to combat it. That's why the Supreme Court's ruling to pause implementation of the Clean Power Plan is disappointing and shortsighted. However, it is not a final decision on the legal merits of the Clean Power Plan, so it is important that we continue with preparations for compliance with the plan while these issues are being worked out in the courts.

"Connecticut is already a national leader on global warming - and that will not change. We're going to continue to cut carbon in a cost-effective, reliable manner while growing a clean energy economy. Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we already have achieved significant reductions in carbon pollution from the electric sector, while growing our economies and maintaining reliable power. We have an obligation to combat greenhouse gases, and Connecticut is going to continue to do just that."



Gov. Jack Markell

"I am disappointed in yesterday’s Supreme Court action on the EPA Clean Power Plan, but optimistic that it will be upheld when the courts review the merits of the case. We remain determined to move forward in responding to the issue of climate change. As a RGGI state, Delaware has led the country in working to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, and we will continue to do so regardless of the decision to stay the Clean Power Plan rule.  As a coastal state, we are acutely aware of the serious threats of climate change and sea level rise, and the Clean Power Plan represents a sensible and flexible approach for states to make the changes required to protect our economy and quality of life."


Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

DOVER (Feb. 15, 2016) – The State of Delaware will continue pushing forward to meet the objectives of the Clean Power Plan, undeterred by a Supreme Court stay of the EPA’s proposed rule Feb. 9. DNREC has scheduled a public listening session for March 1 in Dover to discuss the state’s strategy toward meeting the objectives of the Clean Power Plan, and to gather input from citizens on this essential part of the fight against climate change and its impacts on Delawareans.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants while encouraging clean and renewable energy across the country, was temporarily suspended on Tuesday in the face of legal opposition. Delaware Governor Jack Markell was “disappointed in the Supreme Court’s action, but optimistic that the Clean Power Plan will be upheld when the courts review the merits of the case” and followed by declaring that, “We remain determined to move forward in responding to the issue of climate change.”


Without the significant reduction of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollutants, Delaware faces projected increased days of extreme temperatures, stronger storms, rising sea levels, and costly damage to agriculture, industry, and public health and resources.

"We understand that the legal issues of the Clean Power Plan need to work themselves out, but we must continue the strong actions we have taken through our participation in RGGI, the Delaware Climate Change Impact Assessment and Executive Order 41, which has directed agencies to identify steps we can take to further reduce emissions and adapt,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “Along with many other states, we will continue to develop our plans to comply with the Clean Power Plan – and  gathering feedback from stakeholders in the energy sector, conservation organizations  and  the public is an important part of that process. ”

Sec. Small noted that as of 2014, RGGI states including Delaware have seen carbon pollution from the power sector decrease by over 40 percent, and have benefitted from lower energy costs and positive job creation.



Gov. Mark Dayton

“While the Court’s temporary stay is disappointing, it does nothing to diminish our resolve in Minnesota to keep moving forward on clean energy initiatives, including the development of our state’s Clean Power Plan. President Obama’s strong leadership, the nation-leading initiatives of some of our state’s utilities, and my administration's commitment will assure our state’s continued progress.

"We shouldn't need a federal edict to understand how vital it is that we keep doing everything in our collective powers to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and advance Minnesota’s clean energy economy.”


New Hampshire

Gov. Maggie Hassan

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on yesterday’s action by the Supreme Court of the United States on the Clean Power Plan:

“New Hampshire has long led efforts to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change so that we can have the cleaner and safer environment that our people need to live healthy, productive lives – and it's crucial that other states follow our lead and take responsibility for the pollution that they cause. Through programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, our region is showing that it is possible to protect public health, spur energy innovation, and promote affordable, reliable energy sources for our economy. That's why I have been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan, and the Supreme Court's decision to delay this important step forward is very disappointing.”


New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Statement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling staying the EPA’s Clean Power Plan:

"The Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a disappointing setback in the nation’s efforts to address climate change. The plan should absolutely be upheld on its merits, and New York State remains committed to moving forward with our own actions to protect the environment and the public health. From dedicating $5 billion to advance the clean tech economy, to requiring that 50 percent of electricity in the state come from renewable sources by 2030 and limiting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the global Under 2 MOU, New York is leading by example in addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our time. But this issue requires a global response – and the Clean Power Plan is crucial to ensuring a cleaner, greener, and safer future for all.” 



Gov. Kate Brown

"Even though the Clean Power Plan is going through a battle in the courts, Oregon has been and continues to be committed to national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Oregon is well-positioned to comply with the EPA targets because there have already been early actions in Oregon through investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and moving away from coal."




Department of Environmental Protection Sec. John Quigley

“The rule’s in effect, the rule hasn’t gone away. We, at least currently, see a path to submitting [a state plan] on Sept. 6. … It’s clear that renewables are the future. What the Clean Power Plan is calling for is really good business.”

Gov. Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan

“Pennsylvania will continue planning and engagement with stakeholders on the Clean Power Plan, pending final decision of this issue by the Supreme Court. We will continue to closely monitor the ongoing legal process.”



Gov. Peter Shumlin

MONTPELIER – February 10, 2016 – Gov. Peter Shumlin issued the following statement after the Supreme Court put on hold the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan while litigation against the plan proceeds. 

“This is incredibly disappointing news. The forces fighting President Obama’s common sense plan are those with a stake in the dirty energy status quo that is of polluting our air, water, and forests and contributing to global climate change. Their desperate attempt to make a profit at the expense of our health and the future of the planet is standing in the way of serious action to combat climate change and preserve a livable planet for future generations.

“It is no surprise that the suit over the Clean Power Plan was brought by proponents of the coal industry. That industry, and those who support it, will do everything they can to boost their profits, even if it means imperiling our planet’s future. This is just one more example why Vermont should not be in the business of supporting the coal industry and should divest from coal stocks.”



Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan in North Dakota v. EPA:

“Over the last several months my administration has been working with a diverse group of Virginia stakeholders that includes members of the environmental, business, and energy communities to develop a strong, viable path forward to comply with the Clean Power Plan. As this court case moves forward, we will stay on course and continue to develop the elements for a Virginia plan to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate our clean energy economy.”



Gov. Jay Inslee

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling staying the EPA’s Clean Power Plan:

“Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Clean Power Plan is very troubling, surprising, and disappointing. And it inexplicably breaks with past rulings in which the high court has called for federal rules to limit the carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer for federal action to address carbon pollution and transition to clean energy. Here in Washington state we are unfortunately already seeing the harmful impacts of climate change, and we will continue to take steps that reduce carbon and to lead the nation in clean energy. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan remains a crucial tool to ensure that every state must do its part, and to empower them to do so.

“This ruling comes at a time when the international momentum for action on climate change, expressed most forcefully by December’s global agreement in Paris, is increasingly irreversible. U.S. leadership has been vital to gaining meaningful commitments from the world’s largest economies, and the Clean Power Plan is central to that leadership.  We are confident that the sound legal and policy foundations of this rule will ultimately be upheld, and that the United States will continue its progress in building a clean energy future.”